Amy Dalrymple / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health is seeking input on establishing a new permit system for alternative methods of cleaning up oil and other hydrocarbon spills. An informational meeting scheduled next week comes as one company has a pilot project to use bioremediation, also known as landfarming, to remove spilled oil and allow the soil to be reused.
BISMARCK -- The U.S. Senate on Friday, Dec. 7, unanimously approved Savanna’s Act, legislation that aims to gather data on missing and murdered Native American women. The act, introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a pregnant Fargo woman who was abducted and killed last year. The legislation would improve data collection on tribal victims, improve tribal access to federal law enforcement databases and create guidelines for responding when someone’s reported missing.
BISMARCK — An economic recession projected to occur during North Dakota’s next two-year budget cycle is expected to be both good and bad news for the state, an economist said Wednesday. Dan White, of Moody’s Analytics, presented an economic outlook to legislators as they begin to consider Gov. Doug Burgum’s budget proposal for 2019-21. The forecast calls for strong expectations in 2019 followed by a slower pace of growth similar to the rate of inflation for 2020 and 2021, said White, director of government consulting and public finance research.
BISMARCK — A custodian for Centennial Elementary School in Bismarck is no longer employed by the school district after he was accused of having sexual contact with a young boy. Blake Graff, 63, is charged in Burleigh County District Court with gross sexual imposition, a Class A felony. In a message to Centennial parents, school officials said the victim was not a student at the school.
BISMARCK — The regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency told North Dakota oil and coal leaders on Tuesday, Dec. 4, he wants to learn more about their industries in an effort to improve regulations. Doug Benevento, who leads the Denver-based EPA office that oversees North Dakota, invited input from industry during two roundtable discussions held in Bismarck.
TWIN BUTTES, N.D. - Voters in Twin Buttes elected a woman to the school board Tuesday, Nov. 27, who was previously convicted in federal court of stealing more than $300,000 from the district while serving as board president. Melissa Starr, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to embezzlement and theft, received 35 write-in votes in a special election held after citizens sought to recall another board member. A total of 54 people voted in the election, with three people splitting the remaining 19 votes.
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted Tuesday, Nov. 20, to give the oil industry more flexibility to meet natural gas flaring regulations, emphasizing policies that encourage the industry to invest in gas capture. Commissioners, led by Gov. Doug Burgum, changed the goals of the gas capture policy first adopted in 2014 to focus on increasing the volume of captured gas rather than reducing the flared volume.
SIOUX COUNTY, N.D. — A Native voting rights group is raising questions about a lack of documentation to support voting precincts in Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Four Directions, whose mission is to promote equality at the ballot box in Indian Country, attempted to get the legal boundary definitions for precincts in Sioux County.
BISMARCK - A federal judge denied a motion on Thursday, Nov. 1, seeking relief from North Dakota’s voter identification law for Native American voters, but said the allegations in a lawsuit from the Spirit Lake Tribe give him “great cause for concern.” U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that he was denying an emergency motion seeking relief from North Dakota’s law because it would cause more confusion and chaos less than a week before the election.
BISMARCK - A Watford City accountant is on trial in Bismarck this week in a fraud case that stemmed from a high-profile investigation into an oil boom murder-for-hire plot. Rene L. Johnson is accused in U.S. District Court of defrauding investors in 2013, but the investors received their money back plus interest, according to testimony in the trial that began Monday, Oct. 26.